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Inner-Line Permit

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Inner-Line Permit:


Context:

Meghalaya’s civil society groups have renewed calls for British-era Inner Line Permit.

Why Meghalaya wants ILP?

Fear among the indigenous people of Northeast against an “illegal immigrant influx”, its effects and long-term damages. Northeast India shares borders with countries such as China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

What is an ILP?

It is a document required by non- natives to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.

At present, four Northeastern states are covered, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

  • Both the duration of stay and the areas allowed to be accessed for any non native are determined by the ILP.
  • The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online or in person.

An ILP is only valid for domestic tourists.

Rationale behind:

The Inner Line Permit is an extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.

After the British occupied the Northeast, the colonisers started exploiting the region and its resources for economic benefits.

  • They first started tea plantations and oil industries in Brahmaputra Valley.
  • The indigenous tribes living in the hill areas would regularly conduct raids into the plains to loot and plunder, marauding the tea gardens, oil rigs and trading posts set up by the British East India Company.
  • It was in this context that the BEFR 1873 was promulgated.

Should Meghalaya be brought under ILP?

The ILP is considered the only mechanism to contain influx in the state. Influx is perceived as dangerous because it could upset the fragile demographic balance of the tribals of Meghalaya.

  • Influx definitely is a matter of concern but it requires better solutions than the ILP, not instant solutions demanded by pressure groups. Indeed, how can such a far-reaching policy be decided by one or two groups?

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

Since ILP is frequently in News, concentrate on:

  1. Map based questions involving North- Eastern states.
  2. NE state and their international neighbours.

Mains link:

Analyse the issue of imposition of ILP system in India’s northeastern states and the dilemma this system has posed to the Indian government.

Sources: the Print.